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your business.msnbc.com. you'll find all of today's segments and web exclusive content with more information to help your business grow. next week, obtaining funding is still a challenge, but one restaurant owner took the customer feedback concept to the next level by getting loyal patrons to buy into the business. >> for those of us who have invested our hard earned $500, we got to make sure this place is here next week. if we got to go back and start washing dishes ourselves. >> how a gift card purchase called comfort dollars is keeping this comfort food eatery in the black. until then, i'm jj ram burg. remember, we make your business our business. for any business getting customer feedback is invaluable. that's why we listen to your ideas. help us continue to make the show an even better resource providing more insight into your
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business. logon to your business survey.msnbc.com today. reinventing the economy, small business owners have a lot of questions. can paperless billing get me paid faster? how can i keep my best employees? how can i bring down my insurance costs? and while at american express open we may not have all the answers, we know who does. other owners. that's why we're helping business owners connect. together, we're building a community for them to talk, share and help each other. a place called openforum.com where owners can swap ideas and ask questions. will tweeting get me more customers? how can i make my business green? and one question seems especially popular. how can i get paid faster? how can i get paid faster? i was about to ask you the same thing. and they're inspiring ideas like acceptpay. a new tool from open that lets owners invoice digitally and helps them get paid faster.
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ask a question. find an answer. join the conversation at openforum.com. right now on msnbc -- breaking news. terror threat. the u.s. embassy in yemen has been shut down after ongoing fears of an al qaeda attack in the region. we'll have more in a moment. vacation interrupted. the president's week in hawaii hasn't exactly given him a chance to relax. we'll get some interesting perspective from the islands. weather warning. a record cold snap in parts of the country. the weather channel forecast ahead. plus, the future is here. the high-tech innovations that will mark the year 2010. here's one hint -- 3d television. good morning, everybody. i'm david shooster in for alex witt. we'll have all of that plus is gold the way to go in the coming
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year? we're going to begin first with some new fallout from the failed bomb attack in a detroit-bound aircraft. the american and british embassies in yemen have now been closed down today. the united states government cites an active al qaeda threat. the suspect in the christmas day plane bomb attempt says he got his marching orders from al qaeda in yemen, an emerging front in the war on terror. we've learned general david petraeus paid a surprise visit to yemen meeting with yemeni officials and meeting with u.s. military commanders. petraeus says the united states will double counterterrorism aid to yemen this year. president obama set to return to washington tomorrow ahead of a tuesday meeting with top national security officials on the series of failures that allowed the bomb suspect to board a plane, armed with explosives. joining us now live richard wolf, an msnbc political analyst. richard, the developments in gemmen are intriguing regardless of what's fueling them. let's go through the
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possibilities. general petraeus meets with yemeni leaders yesterday. today they decide to announce there's an active al qaeda threat. is it possible that maybe this is because general petraeus meetings with yemeni leaders did not go as well as he had hoped? >> it's possible, but there's another piece of news as well, which is that the british government announced that it was setting up with the americans a counter terrorism police unit in yemen and, you know, if you are going to say we're going take these people on directly it's going to be american and british funded because the yemeni government cannot deal with this, it's a deeply dysfunctional government, not really in control of its territory, then you can expect some kind of response. the other aspect of this is that it seems from what we know of the nigerian plot, that the intercepts, the surveillance of what these al qaeda affiliates are doing in yemen is pretty sophisticated. put the two things together and it's not surprising you get this increased threat level.
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>> let's pick up on the last point you make, al qaeda being pretty sophisticated in yemen. >> it's essentially a failed state. al qaeda has historic presence in the region in sudan especially. you have a situation where the borders are not secure, where radical islamic groups are home grown, and in all likelihood, you're not talking about many al qaeda operatives that can cause this kind of disruption in a deeply troubled, impoverished part of the world, in a critical region. >> as far as the obama administration, how high up would it go in terms of the decision to close the embassy there, to work in consultation with the british? would that be made at the level of sort of the embassy, all the way up to the secretary of state or possibly in consultations with president obama himself? >> well, i'm sure the president was involved in this and certainly the secretary of state. this is has got to be an intelligence-driven decision, though. what you're essentially looking
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at is a very risk environment. nobody at this stage wants to be seen to take their eye off the bull and not taking the chatter seriously. safety first in a time like this. you want to show that the administration is on top of every threat coming out of this region. of course the danger is that we're looking backwards here and thinking about the last attempt, as opposed to the next one. >> and richard, as far as the political environment that president obama will find himself when he returns to washington this coming week, what do you make of it in terms of the changes over the holidays because of the terror threat? >> well, he's got to show action and, obviously, having petraeus out in the region and a number of these different initiatives, including development aid, more military aid to yemen, all of that shows action. but he's also got to direct his action to the intelligence communities in washington. that failure to respond or the structural problems about having the national counterterrorism center not sharing information, he's got to take action here. the politics of it, though, is difficult. remember what happened in spain
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after it mass drids train bombing. if congress seems to be too overtly political, it can backfire. that's the lesson of spain. what we saw over the last few days and the vacation period is that people were essentially pointing fingers. the american people are not going to respond well to both sides making this a partisan food fight. >> i wonder if, in fact, there's even anecdotal support of president obama given that some of the daily gallup tracking polls, for example, conducted after christmas day showed obama's ratings ticking up. >> well, people look to presidents for strength and leadership at a time of instability and fear. that's what we saw after 9/11. and as long as he doesn't get engaged in this political food fight, he can stay above the fray and be like a commander in chief. that's what people want. the danger is that people at a time when they're very disillusioned with politics in general in washington, see both parties pointing fingers at each other, this dispute about the tsa nominee, that does not
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encourage people to think well of that political leaders. >> great stuff as always from richard wolfe, msnbc political analyst, good of you to come in this morning. we appreciate it. >> my pleasure. happy new year, david. >> happy new year. today on "meet the press" deputy national security adviser john brennan will talk with david gregory how the terror attempt christmas day might have been prevented and also on the show former homeland security chairman michael cher tofr a tough and michael haden. check your local listings for the times in your area. we're in the mid-of a record blast of cold air. maine is bracing for what could be a one-two punch, a combination of strong winds and falling snow will lead to blizzard or near blizzard conditions in parts of the state. take a look at the big waves the storm stirred up along the massachusetts coast on saturday. it left homes flooded and beaches in danger of further erosion, plus 6 to 10 inches of snow blanketed massachusetts.
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more snow is in the forecast for the state, and also, for upstate new york. in buffalo, windchills in buffalo are expected to fall well below zero. meteorologist alex wallace joins us now from the weather channel in atlanta with the latest. good morning. >> good morning to you. no doubt about it, the snowy scene, the cold, that is the situation here for us across a lot of the nation. take a look at some of the highlights here we'll find for our sunday. this last sunday of -- last day of the weekend. snow for us in new england including around the boston area where temperatures are expected to be in the 30s. with that wind whipping it around as well. some of that cold air has filtered down towards portions of florida. tampa, 49 degrees here for our high. very, very chilly stuff. and it gets even colder in the portions of the northern plains and upper midwest where highs won't get above zero in some cases. so very, very chilly conditions here. then we head farther west, this is where it's actually a little warmer. good times for us around los angeles, we're in the upper 70s enjo iing a great day there in
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southern cal. the cold is the story. we certainly felt it here across portions of the upper midwest, around the international falls area, no wonder they call it the ice box of the u.s., this is the last couple morning. we were talking about frigid starts here into the minus 30 range here for us the last couple of morning, setting daily records yesterday and this morning in international falls. we don't see things warming up a whole lot across a good chunk of the u.s. you can see 20s for highs from rapid city towards atlanta, not hot-lanta, mid 30s for the afternoon. a lot of folks will be bundling up as we head through this sunday. >> the weather channel's alex wallace, thanks for the update. for more on the weather where you are, plus your back-to-work forecast, head to the weather channel's website at weather.com. there's been a huge development this morning in the thanksgiving day murder case in florida. the suspect is behind bars right now after spending five weeks on the run.
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police arrested paul merhige at a motel last night in the florida keys. he's accused of killing his twin sisters, his aunt and his cousin's 6-year-old daughter. the little girl's father reacted to the arrest. >> this does not bring my daughter back. so i'm not jumping up and down in jubilation. but, you know, at least now i will be able to sleep knowing the monster is not right outside my door hoping to finish what he start opds thanksgiving. michelle kosinski is live in miami with more. how did police manage to break this case? . >> hi david. it was finally a tip from the public after watching "america's most wanted" as so many cases are solved around the country. someone sees something, they call police. this is a case that has had people on edge from here up to michigan and beyond for weeks because police had said paul merhige was armed and dangerous, that he had his passport, a lot of cash and several guns,
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including a sniper rifle and they didn't know where he was. the man that his family said sat pleasantly through thanksgiving dinner, went to his car and came back with a gun and opened fire, killing his twin sisters, one of whom was pregnant, el elderly aunt and 6-year-old cousin why i while she slept. police say he planned this out carefully including his escape and his family has lived in fear he would come back. last night after watching "america's most wanted" someone called the police and led them to a florida keys motel room. >> this is a weight lifted off of our shoulders obviously by making this apprehension. now i can tell you this family is safe and give them peace and let them get on with their healing process. >> reporter: this family described merhige as brilliant but unstable and said during the shootings he announced he had waited 20 years to do that. now they and people around here can know that paul merhige is
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finally in custody, david. >> nbc's michelle kosinski in miami, thanks for the report. and california, a roof collapse has left two firefighters hospitalized this morning. the two were on the roof of the burning home in modesto when it collapsed, dropping them into the flames. their injuries are said to be extensive. a woman and her two children living in the home escaped without injuries. >> i felt so bad. i felt so bad for them. i just want to apologize to them and their family. i hope they're eokay. >> the woman says she tried to refill a generator with gas and ended up dropping a candle. investigators suspect that is what sparked the fire. an appeal to parishioners for money this past wednesday by noted evangelical pastor rick warren has paid off in a big way. warren asked for $900,000 to cover an expected shortfall.
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since that request warren says the southern california mega church has received $2.4 million in donations. the pastor says thousands contributed mostly under $100. still ahead, more on the active terror threat that has forced the closure of the u.s. and british embassies in yemen. we'll have the latest on the investigation next. from the stock market to the real estate sector, what you can expect from the economy this year. also, snooky from "jersey shore" takes a shot at a former sponsor and that company is firing back. a look at how the president's hawaiian vacation may have been anything but relaxing since christmas day. you're watching "msnbc sunday." and special care. nobody knows that better than children's tylenol. it works with little bodies... to reduce fevers while easing aches and pains.
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and we're following that breaking news today out of yemen. the doors to both the u.s. and the british embassies in yemen's capital city of sana are now closed. according to a an administration counterterrorism official, the u.s. embassy is closed in direct response to, quote, active threats by al qaeda. al 500 embassy employees have been instructed to stay away until further notice and remain inside their homes as much as possible. this comes just hours after the head of u.s. central command general david petraeus made a surprise trip to yemen to talk to counterterrorism officials there. on the same weekend president obama acknowledged that for the first time the connection between al qaeda and yemen and the suspect in the failed christmas bombing attack. joining us is eric lipton. what's the latest reporting in "the new york times" in terms of what prompted officials to close this embassy in yemmen. >> >> well, apparently john brennan, the homeland security
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adviser to the president, has alerted him that there's this imminent threat potentially in yemen. there appears to be just an escalating situation right now between the united states and the authorities in yemen and sympathizers with al qaeda where the united states had support by the yemeni government to take strikes against them last month and it appears they may be trying to strike back. >> what do you know about -- what does "the new york times" know about general petraeus' meetings yesterday? >> well, what we know is that he visited and was [ inaudible ] and reported back to the president. simply what's clear, is while the united states has been edge gau -- engaged in conflicts in iraq and iran, facing an increasingly escalating situation in yemen as well, and as great britain, which there's going to be an organized response from al qaeda there. >> to put some of the yemen/al qaeda connections in context,
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here's a look in terms of guantanamo bay, the connection here, half of the remaining 198 detainees at guantanamo are from yemen and of those, about 40 have been cleared for release. 60 detainees were sent back to yemmen in december and then there were some detainees from yemmen who were sent back during the bush administration now suspected of being responsible in helping to train abdulmutallab for this recent terror attack. eric, what does all this do in terms of the future of the guantanamo bay detainees? >> the administration says it still sees a way to close guantanamo bay but it has also stated for now, it has no intentions of returning people who were from yemen who are prepared for -- to be released back to yemen. so they need to find some alternative, releasing them to some place else or perhaps not releasing them as quickly as they hoped. at least the administration feels they can move forward on its plan, although there are certainly members of the
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congress questioning it now even much stronger. >> want to ask you about the plars of the u.s. embassy in yemen. a lot of the u.s. embassies throughout the region have some pretty sophisticated defenses against potential suicide bombings and attacks. one would wonder what was it, if there was anything particular that may have taken the additional step of closing the embassy down, and that might be related there's frustration on the part of the u.s. government with the yemen government? >> well, i mean any embassy is going to have a certain amount of perimeter security presumably, but, you know, any time you approach a building from outside, you're therefore still vulnerable. so at a minimum that might be the concern. and, you know, i think from what i know and i'm here in washington, i've been more focused on the intelligence response and the aviation security response to the threat, but from what i know, it appears as if the yemen government has been quite active in trying to
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respond to the threat there against al qaeda in terms of organizing strikes in december that presumably the united states supported. so i -- from what i'm hearing, it doesn't appear as if there is great tension at the moment. >> all right. back to your sweet spot here, the issues of homeland security. what's the latest in terms of what's going to be confronted of president obama at his meeting on tuesday in terms of all these agencies and the latest in terms of what they know about the possible vulnerabilities in intelligence gathering and also how that translates to airline security? >> well, at the moment, the increases in security that went into effect immediately following the bombing attempt are still in place and stay in place, at least through sunday night tonight. and i anticipate that there will be some recommendations that the president is going to move on pretty quickly in terms of both watch lists and aviation security. we don't exactly know what they are still, but i mean, things like the whole body scanners
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might be rolled out more quickly than they had been planned and you might continue to see pat-downs on passengers getting on international flights bound for the united states in the short term. so some changes in how watch lists are handled so that, you know, people are added to no-fly lists or selectee lists means they will get more closer scrutiny before they get on a plane. i think those kind of things will be happening in the days and weeks ahead as they recalibrate the defensive system against this kind of attack. >> "the new york times" national correspondent eric lipton, thanks for both covering the stuff you cover every day but this developing news out of yemen. we appreciate it. still ahead, the new signs on improvement in the job market. but will the trend continue? and later, the gadgets that are getting the biggest buzz. what to expect with some of the high-tech stuff that's coming in the year ahead.
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taking a look now ahead to the week on wall street. on tuesday, we will see the final numbers on the u.s. auto sales for december and for the whole year of 2009 entirely. on thursday the nation's largest retailer chains will report sales figures for last month and on friday, we will see the december employment report from the labor department. some analysts predict this could be the first report in a year that shows employers actually adding jobs. leading economists say to keep the u.s. sxhe moving forward in 2010 will likely require significant drop in unemployment. cnbc's carmen wong ullrich joins us now. as far as what investors in particular are looking for this week, take us through it. >> here's the thing when it comes to unemployment, we've got quite a ways to go. we still have 4.9 million people collecting unemployment benefits and we need to see for recovery over half a million jobs created. we're pretty far from that. analysts say that's going to
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come about closely to the summer and fall before we reverse all these job losses. >> as far as there are some sectors of the economy, noticeably the service sector, where they're already adding jobs. is that something that's sustainable? >> yeah, it is probably sustainable. we got to see credit in banking open up to small businesses because we have to realize this is a big, big part of our economy here. until credit opens up to small businesses, more retailers, we're not going to see a lot of the job creation. as credit eases hopefully we can see more job creation as the economy recovers. >> what's the mood among those on wall street, investors and what not heading into the beginning of this year? >> i can tell you with investor, individual investors, we're really still a little anty and little nervous, see a lot of folks heading to bonds and treasuries again. folks are putting their feet in, but here's the thing, the real growth is kind of already done. it is gone. i mean we're talking from the lows we're talking growth of the dow and the s&p in the 40 to
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60%, so you're not going to see that kind of growth coming up for 2010, but you will see growth and that is the good news. if you can hang in there, make sure you got your money where it should be, well diversified, you should be in good shape. remember the biggest periods of growth always happens in the first five years after a recession or depression. >> and then i know in terms of the housing sector, a lot of people are sort of rushing to try to take advantage of this first-time home buyer credit which expires in april. are people and economists looking for the obama administration and congress to perhaps maybe extend that particular policy? >> yeah. i mean a lot of folks would like to see that policy extended, but there's a lot of argument as to how helpful it is going to be. but the real big talk, of course, is all those foreclosures right now. we're talking about making home affordable program as we can see, did not exactly help as many people as they would like to, which is supposed to be 4 million people. we have about 3 million foreclosures that may happen or set to happen in 2010 and that
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could really be devastating to the housing market. we have to see what washington is going to do to make sure that doesn't happen. >> and then finally, carmen, gold was a big winner as you know last year. what's the prognostication for gold in the year ahead? >> up 24% for '09. gold was pretty darn hot. here's the thing, was is the answer here. gold has been a safehaven but as the economy recovers and individual investors stop pulling from gold and put their money back in the market, we're going to see a lot less growth. the big growth at 24% has probably been done and gone. some folks will talk this up quite a bit, but gold is volatile. it is very, very volatile. if you're going to buy into it make sure it's a small part of your portfolio and well diversified. not necessarily a safehaven anymore. >> carmen wong ullrich from cnbc, thanks for coming on. >> thanks, david. still ahead, the president's vacation is coming to an end, but this trip was less than relaxing. we'll explain. more on that coming up here on "msnbc sunday." zyrtec® itchy eye drops.
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today a new warning from a top u.s. counterterrorism official, al qaeda and other extremists are working to test u.s. defenses and launch an attack on american soil. a warning is the first public comment from the national counterterrorism center director michael leiter since the failed christmas day terror attack. joining us now is "daily news" reporter james gordon make. always a pleasure to have you on. >> hello, david. >> president obama's top counterterrorism official saying there was no smoking gun, that u.s. agencies should have found ahead of the christmas day attempted attack. what do you make of that? >> there was no smoking gun, but there were a lot of parts of the gun, a lot of shell casings lying around that probably should have been taken together and some assumptions should have been made. as we've reported in "the daily news," you know, there was some intelligence, there was information from this suspect to try to blow up the plane bound for detroit.
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his own father, who was a prominent former nigerian economics minister and banker, had come in and talked to the cia and u.s. embassy in nigeria and warned them about his son possibly being tied up with extremists in yemen, which is a hotbed for activity of al qaeda's regional branch in the arabian peninsula. and there was some other intelligence cables, apparently not everything was shared with michael leiter's national counterterrorism center and there is some belief by some officia officials, senior intelligence officials i had spoken to, had they had all the bits and pieces in one place, they probably would have taken some action to make sure that this young man, abdulmutallab, did not get on an airplane, particularly with explosives, sophisticated explosives. >> you guys have done some terrific work in the "new york daily news" and we decided to copy and paste this morning. here are the seven items. this will be very helpful for our viewers.
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in may, the british uk denies a visa to abdulmutallab. in august, the suspect returns to yemen. in august there's chatter about the nigerian that is picked up by the cia. in august, al awlaki and the suspect talk. in november the dad warns the embassy. on december 16th, abdulmutallab pays more than $2,000 cash for a one-way ticket to detroit. december 21st there's on-line video warning of a message from al qaeda saying we are carrying a bomb to hit the enemies of god. again, all this directly from the new yo"new york daily news." it seems pretty straightforward when it's laid out that way. >> yes. but unfortunately it wasn't all laid out inside the national counterterrorism center which was, david, as you know, created after the 9/11 attack, years after, on the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, as a clearinghouse, where all the intelligence from around the government would all come to one place, analysts would look at it
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and they would take action, they would authorize further investigation. what i find incredible here is that the embassy in nigeria has claimed that the state department has claimed the embassy in nigeria wasn't aware this young man had a multiple entry u.s. visa which he has used which was active at the time that his father came in november. and they didn't know that. it had been issued -- because they said it was issued by the u.s. embassy in london. this is mind blowing that any embassy around the world wouldn't know who has a u.s. visa. mind blowing. but the big question of the moment is, not just who's head is going to roll, but really why is al qaeda in the arabian peninsula for the first time, again a very regionally focused terror group, why are they trying to attack us here in the homeland with what was a pretty sose fis cated -- pretty sophisticated bomb that turned out to be a does, it didn't work, thank god. >> i want to ask you while we have you about the developing news this morning involving the
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u.s. embassy and the british embassy in yemen, the decision to close the embassies after general david petraeus met with yemeni officials yesterday. what do you make of all of it? >> well, the u.s. embassy in yemen has been attacked before and, of course, you'll recall ten years ago almost, the "uss cole," missile frigette, probably getting that wrong, but a navy destroyer, was anchored in the gulf of aden off yemen and was attacked by al qaeda and blown up and a couple dozen -- almost couple dozen sailors were killed in that attack which occurred not long before the 2000 election. nobody talked about it at the time really. so there's a long history there. and the u.s. has got a lot of special operations people. we have special forces training their military. we've been told that u.s. drones have been involved in airstrikes, three raids have occurred since december 17th, two right before this attempted
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bombing on the detroit flight, and those raids involved, you know, some help from u.s. intelligence and special operations. i think you're going to see more attacks on al qaeda by the yemen government. they're being really pressured to do something, particularly now that one of our planes almost got blown up over u.s. soil. it's going to be, perhaps, the next battle ground. >> james gordon make, one of the best reporters in washington and one of the best writers, you can look at all of his work in the new york daily news website and the paper itself. thanks for coming in this morning. >> david, it's always a pleasure. now, to the winter weather hitting the northeast today. forecasters expect between 6 to 10 inches of snow in parts of the northeast by the end of the weekend, windchills in minnesota are setting new record lows. for an update on today's weather and any potential impact on air travel today, tune in at the top of the hour. we will have the latest on the weather systems. an investigation is under way in tokyo after a thief stole
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more than $3 million worth of watches from an upscale jewelry store. investigators found a 16 to 20 inch hole in one of the store's walls. the thief smashed several displays and made off with about 200 luxury watches, including several rolexs. it's believed that the robbery happened some time over the new year's holiday. and tiger woods' wife elin planning on getting half of his fortune? the answer is yes, at least according to the british tabloid "the news of the world." the paper reports that the 30-year-old swedish model is coolly telling friends for christmas she got, quote, $300 million, thank you very much. the paper reports that tiger woods has not seen his children for almost a month and that elin even forced tiger's mother to mail the children's christmas presents rather than deliver them in person. elin, according to the paper, has not given tiger access to their two children because he's quote, not stable enough at the moment.
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elin is now on her way back to the states after reportedly spending new year's at an $8,000 a night chalet in the french alps. now to the president's tough vacation in honolulu from an attempted terror attack to the deaths of seven cia operatives in afghanistan, president obama has had a number of issues to keep his eye on. as nbc's lee cowan reports, the president did his best to try to enjoy the homecoming. >> reporter: the mention of hawaii for those not here brings jealously especially during the winter months when most of the nation is hunkered down in layers. >> i'm from pennsylvania and i usually surf in new jersey and right now, it's about 25 degrees there. so this is -- it's beautiful here. >> reporter: the president is no different. there were plenty who argue this was no time to be on a beach, even though a good portion of his time was spent working. but unlike most of us, for him, hawaii isn't just a getaway, it's a coming home and the
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residents here know a local when they see one. >> a lot of people want to be outside in their yarpdss and welcome the president when he comes by and some people are going to be holding aloha signs and, you know, sitting out in their yards with some snacks and drinks. >> reporter: the peculiars of the hawaiian islands are his. shaved ice isn't just some tourist novelty, he grew up on the stuff. al know now his favorite combination of flavors has a nickname, a snowbama. he's become a bit of a nick nag knack. bobble heads featuring the president are almost as popular here as dashboard hula girls. >> very popular. they would say oh look, obama, let's buy this. >> reporter: politics comes second to owe hanna here, hawaiian for family. there are a host of efforts to honor their favorite son from making his childhood home a landmark to naming schools after him. all of it makes coming home a little different, almost awkward. a foursome on the golf course is
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about as public as he's been. these days, the famed honolulu lights are often a glaring series of flashbulbs instead of reflections in the surf. his time is mostly spent secluded with family, whisked in and out of the treasures often before they're open to the public. unlike the time when he was just candidate obama, there's been no body surfing this time. at least not for the cameras. hawaii may be home but his address is still 1600 pennsylvania avenue. a residence with a driveway that spans the oceans, whose occupant, even here in paradise, can rarely truly escape. lee cou wan, nbc news, honolulu. still ahead, from hawaii to the new jersey shore a new argument has erupted over mtv's new reality show. and in our next hour, what to expect at the gas pumps this year. you're watching "msnbc sunday."
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the search is on for an injured sea lion in san francisco. rescuers are trying to track down the mammal after tourists first spotted it friday night. onlookers say the sea lion, as you can see, had some kind of netting around its snout and what looked like rope wrapped around its neck. crews have been combing the waters by boat, but have yet to spot the injured animal since these pictures were taken on friday night. more controversy this morning from the provocative mtv reality show "jersey shore." >> i think i'm going to get a drink. >> i was feeling like an outcast but now i feel like i'm a part of the family now. they're starting to get to know me. like snookie you're a cool girl, like thank you, finally. >> she may be tight with her roommates now, but snookie is lashing out at one of the show's former sponsors. several groups have criticized "jersey shore" for negatively depicting italian-americans
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prompting some organizations to call for its cancellation. joined live from our msnbc studios in new york by senior editor with "in touch weekly." what's the latest spat between "jersey shore" cast member and a former sponsor? >> yeah. i'm sure mtv must just hate the controversy, hate the publicity, hate we're talking about this right now. snookie, who people may know even if you haven't watched the show, you saw the clip of her getting punched that got a lot of publicity, made some comments about dominos, the first sponsor, i believe, to pull out of the show, pull their ads from the show. she made some comments saying, you know, if you don't like it, just shut up and other comments that i can't repeat here on tv. dominos then responded to snookie by saying, you know, just as viewers have a choice of what they want to watch, advertisers have a choice of what shows they want to advertise on and added, what a classy young lady, her parents must be so proud. we have no interest in getting into a war with this young girl because tick tock, her 15
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minutes of fame are almost up. which is interesting they decided to kind of shoot back at her after she made these comments about dominos. >> do we think maybe the show's producers encouraged snookie to take the shot at dominos? >> i don't know for sure. it helps both. it helps dominos. a lot of people who don't like "jersey shore," even though it's getting good ratings, but a lot of people love to hate it. it's got an bad rap from a lot of people. italian-american associations are upset about it, a state senator from new jersey upset about it. dominos wins some points and snookie and the "jersey shore" cast wins some points. people want to tune in if. if you haven't seen it yet you may want to tune in and find out what the controversy is about. >> you mention the key, ratings have been fairly strong despite all the controversy. any indications despite the controversy, that just because the numbers have been okay, there's going to be another "jersey shore"? >> you know, look, look at mtv's record. if there's a show that gets a lot of buzz, they certainly
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continue the phenomenon. look at "the hills," "the city." "the real world." they want to see more of this cast, more of the "jersey shore," wouldn't surprise me if there is another one. i don't think the 15 minutes of fame for these folks is up. again, look at jon and kate. a lot of people that thought their 15 minutes of fame went up a long time ago. >> you're killing us, kim. >> i can name more. octomom, richard heene, the whole spiel. >> all right. kim is the senior editor with "in touch weekly." thanks for coming in. >> thanks. still ahead, more on the record, cold temperatures hitting parts of the country. we will get the latest from the weather channel, that's coming up next. granddaughter: grandma, you did it!
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new developments in yemen today where al qaeda is said to have recruited and armed the so-called underwear bomber. the u.s. embassy is closed today because of an active threat from al qaeda. meantime democrats in the obama administration are on the
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defensive following al qaeda's attempted attack on a u.s. bound plane on christmas day. now president obama is calling for an end to partisan finger pointing, but is it realistic to expect the blame game to stop now. eleanor cliff a contributing editor for "newsweek" magazine. start with the news as far as the u.s. and british embassies being closed in yemen. what does that do to the partisan warfare in washington. >> i suppose that it gives the critics more ammunition that al qaeda has america on the run when you can't even keep your embassy open. that's probably a wise choice to make. i imagine they are facing a significant threat. i would hope that it doesn't mean that the embassies are closed for the foreseeable future, that this is a moment while passions are running high. but, you know, democrats are always on the defensive when it comes to national security and the american people, at least
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immediately, seem to want a more muscular reaction when we feel our country is under attack. and yet, if you look back over the last eight years, the war in iraq hasn't worked out all that well and you could argue that afghanistan is in the state it is today because we neglected it paying too much attention to iraq. you could argue that yemen should have been on our radar screen for the last decade, but we were preoccupied with afghanistan and iraq. it's kind of a daisy chain of extremism that we need to find as a country, we need to find new ways to combat other than bombing and sending troops in. >> and to the extent that americans are reminded of some of the failures of the bush/cheney administration, i wonder then if that would suggest some republicans last week in terms of their criticism of president obama, may have overplayed their hand specifically when the vice president himself was out there
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suggesting president obama does not realize that we're in the middle of a war when that statement seems so easily impaefrped. >> well, it seems to me that the republicans suffer from collective amnesia. they only remember the so-called successes, the success of the surge. they forget the cost of getting to even the modicum of stability we have today in iraq and it's very fragging, the cost in lives, not only american, but iraqi. it seems the president has a good case to make, but the fact that this happened while he was on vacation in hawaii, that he seems sort of absent from the debate, i think that doesn't help. i think the new presence by john brennan, who will now be conducting a review of all the security procedures and that he is, after all, or was, a bush official and put in place the watch list, so i think, you know, the president is probably
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going to do well to emphasize in some of the areas of continuity between the bush administration and his administration in terms of combatting the terrorist threat and he can use that to appeal to republicans maybe to find the better angels of their nature and give them a break. this is really not a time to be scoring political points. >> there is a great temptation inside the white house to sort of hit back hard at your critics and engage in this sort of mud slinging that maybe dick cheney was trying to goeds the obama white house into doing. i suppose there's a danger for the obama white house if they go too far in trying to engage the critics. >> you don't want to re-run the 2004 election really. that was the one that was really about terror. in 2000 it was barely mentioned. in 2008, much of the country was anti-war, which is how barack
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obama could get elected. we're trying to find our balance with these issues and i think the white house does have to hit back because if you leave the charges unanswered, they take on a life of their own. but you're right, the president and the other officials have to find a way to respond that doesn't look like they're in a sandbox fight, that this is a juvenile exercise in finger pointing, as opposed to a serious effort to find the vulnerabilities in our national security and to find a new way to combat extremism that goes beyond responding militarily, because that doesn't work, as evidenced by the last eight years, and two, we don't have the resources to go into every country. yemen is an interesting case. the government there has actually been working with the obama administration, orchestrating attacks on al qaeda. so that effort has to be strengthened and, you know, nobody wants to talk about
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nation building, but one of the best-selling books is, of course, you know, "four cups of tea" and wanting to -- and turning stones into schools. it's that kind of aid, i think, that has a much better payoff than dropping more bombs. >> eleanor clifts, contributing editor for "newsweek" magazine, thanks for coming in this morning. >> thank you, david. >> you're welcome. holiday vacationers in northern california are getting an extra attraction along the coastline. big waves pounded the coast of pacific ka, california, with locals seeing waves as tall as 20 feet. surfers heeded for the most part the national weather service warnings and stayed clear of these walls of water. locals are expecting another day of at least head high surf. still ahead, the frigid temperatures gripping much of the nation. how even florida is feeling the chill. the forecast from the weather channel at the top of the hour. , ...and new questions about which pain reliever

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